Coffee Cake with Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

This is my favourite quick and easy coffee cake recipe that is fabulously moist and oozing flavour. I must admit, I'm a latecomer to the coffee cake party. I used to poo-poo it, thinking it was for geriatric bridge club afternoons, until I tried it again recently with cream cheese frosting. I freakin' loved it. I wonder if this is a coming-of-age thing and I am now a fully-fledged adult who can't play bridge to save my life despite my dad being Kuwait's bridge champion (true story...and sadly not something that's been passed down the gene pool). The only thing that I would be winning at bridge club would be with this insanely good coffee cake with a coffee cream cheese buttercream and walnuts.

Best Coffee Cake with coffee cream cheese frosting recipe


The coffee in this tall layer cake is subtle yet very present and really balances out the sweetness of the sponge. And the coffee cream cheese frosting...oh, the coffee cream cheese frosting...I have to physically restrain myself from just spooning it straight into my cake-hole. It's got a delightful tang and is of perfect piping consistency, giving the cake an effortlessly fancy look. The walnuts are nice as they are a classic pairing with coffee cake, adding to the texture and aesthetics of the cake, but they aren't essential if you want to omit nuts.

How to make the a Coffee Cake with Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting from Scratch

Prep Time: 60m | Cook Time: 30m | Total Time: 90m
Serves: 10 | Calories: 187 

Making the Sponges

Coffee Cake Ingredients

380g caster sugar: Caster sugar is a fine sugar with smaller granules than regular granulated sugar. It dissolves more easily and quickly, making it ideal for baking delicate cakes, such as coffee sponge, where a smooth texture is desired.

120ml oil (vegetable or sunflower): Vegetable or sunflower oil is a versatile and neutral-tasting oil suitable for baking. It contributes to the moistness of the cake and helps create a tender crumb.

3 eggs, lightly beaten: Eggs provide structure, moisture, and richness to the cake. Lightly beaten eggs blend more easily with other ingredients, ensuring a smooth and uniform batter.

1 tablespoon vanilla extract: Vanilla extract adds a subtle, sweet aroma and flavour to the coffee sponge, enhancing the overall taste of the cake.

120ml yoghurt: Yoghurt contributes to the moistness and tender texture of the cake, whilst also adding a subtle tanginess that complements the coffee flavour.

350g flour: Flour is the primary dry ingredient in the cake, providing structure and serving as a foundation for the sponge. Using the right amount of flour ensures a light, fluffy texture.

3 teaspoons baking powder: Baking powder is a raising agent that helps the cake rise and creates a soft, airy texture. It reacts with the acidic components in the batter, releasing carbon dioxide bubbles that lift the batter as it bakes.

1 teaspoon salt: Salt is a flavour enhancer that brings out the sweetness and balances the flavours in the cake. A small amount of salt helps accentuate the coffee and other ingredients' tastes.

285ml milk: Milk adds moisture and contributes to a tender crumb in the coffee sponge. It also provides some fat content, enhancing the overall flavour and texture of the cake.

3 tablespoons instant coffee granules: Instant coffee granules provide the rich coffee flavour in the sponge. They dissolve easily and evenly distribute the coffee taste throughout the cake.

1 tablespoon boiling water: Boiling water is used to dissolve the instant coffee granules, ensuring a smooth and consistent coffee flavour in the cake. Mixing the dissolved coffee with the other wet ingredients helps incorporate the flavour evenly.

Best Coffee Cake Recipe - ingredients

How to make the sponges

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius and prepare three 6-inch round cake tins by greasing and lightly dusting with flour. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and sugar until light.

Best Coffee Cake Recipe - mix eggs, oil, sugar

2. Add the yoghurt and whisk until well mixed.

3. Dissolve the instant coffee granules in the tablespoon of water and stir into the milk with the vanilla extract.

4. Sift half the flour, baking powder, and salt into the large mixing bowl with the egg mixture and stir to combine. Pour in half the milk mix and repeat with the remaining dry ingredients and milk to make a lump-free batter. The batter will be quite runny owing to the high ratio of liquid ingredients.

Best Coffee Cake Recipe - cake sponge batter

5. Divide the batter into three 6-inch round cake tins and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a cocktail stick comes out clean.

Best Coffee Cake Recipe - cake batter in tins

6. Once baked, bring the cake tins out to cool in their tins for 10 minutes before releasing onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Best Coffee Cake Recipe - baking sponges
Best Coffee Cake Recipe - baked sponge layers

7. Once cooled, use a cake leveller or a bread knife to torte. You can leave the sponges as three deep layers or, if you'd like to make a mile-high layer cake, split each layer into two even layers (using a cake leveller is best for this).

Best Coffee Cake Recipe - torting sponge layers

Making the Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting

Coffee Cream Cheese Ingredients

125g butter, room temperature

300g icing sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon instant coffee granules

80g cream cheese


1. In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the butter until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract and coffee granules and beat until smooth.

2. Slowly add in the sifted icing sugar to create a light and fluffy buttercream.

3. Add in the cream cheese and whip until combined.

Decorating your Coffee Cake


Walnuts, halved and chopped


1. Place an 8 inch cake board on a decorating turntable and spread a dollop of buttercream in the centre using a cranked spatula. Place a layer of sponge on top and affix it to the board.

2. Spread two heaped tablespoons of buttercream onto the coffee cake sponge layer and smooth it to the edges. Sandwich with another layer of sponge and repeat until all sponges are sandwiched. It is easier to layer sponges if they are chilled in the fridge and a bit firm.

Best Coffee Cake Recipe - layer cake and buttercream
Best Coffee Cake Recipe - naked cake with coffee cream cheese frosting

3. Add a crumb coat of the coffee cream cheese buttercream around the sides of the cake using an angled spatula and smooth it using the edge of the spatula or a cake scraper. Chill it in the fridge to set for 5-10 minutes.

Best Coffee Cake Recipe - coffee cream cheese frosting

4. Smooth another layer of frosting over the crumb-coat and fill a piping bag fitted with your nozzle of choice with the remaining buttercream. Pipe dollops on top of the cake.

Best Coffee Cake Recipe - with coffee cream cheese buttercream

5. You can add halved walnuts to decorate the top and crushed walnuts along the base of the cake.

Best Coffee Layer Cake Recipe - walnuts

Ta-daaa! Just look at those lovely layer-upon-layer levels of deliciousness! I hope you love this cake. Actually, I know you will. Even if you hate coffee cake, you may change your mind like me when it's paired with the delicious coffee cream cheese frosting.

Tips to achieve the perfect coffee sponge 

If you want to bake the perfect coffee sponge, then you've got to pay attention. First things first, make sure your ingredients are at room temperature – no ice-cold eggs or rock-hard butter! Secondly, sift your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt) to avoid any pesky lumps in your batter. And finally, don't overmix your batter - you're not trying to beat the devil out of it! Just mix until the ingredients are combined, and then stop. Trust me, a light and fluffy sponge is worth the restraint. Now go forth and conquer that coffee cake!

Variations to try: different flavours and toppings

If you're feeling adventurous and want to try something new with your coffee sponge, there are plenty of variations and flavour combinations to explore. For starters, you can try adding a touch of cinnamon or nutmeg to your sponge batter for a warm and spicy twist. Or, add another flavour such as vanilla, chocolate or peach for a unique and delicious result.

When it comes to toppings, the possibilities are endless. Instead of the classic cream cheese buttercream, why not try a rich chocolate ganache or a tangy lemon curd? Lemon works! You can also add fresh fruit like blackberries, blueberries banana and peach for a pop of colour and flavour.

If you're feeling particularly daring, you could even experiment with adding savoury ingredients like bacon to your sponge batter. Who knows? You might just discover your new favourite flavour combination.

How to store and serve your coffee cake

First of all, if you have any leftover cake (which let's be honest, is rare), you'll want to store it properly to ensure it stays fresh. If the cake has been frosted, cover it with a cake dome or place it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. If you've made a naked cake or a cake with minimal frosting, you can leave it covered at room temperature for up to 2-3 days. For more information about keeping your cake, read our our compete cake storage guide

When it comes to serving your coffee cake, you have a few options. You can serve it as is, with a cup of coffee or tea for a mid-morning or afternoon treat. Alternatively, you can pair it up with additional treats, such as whipped cream, fresh berries, or a drizzle of caramel sauce.

For a special occasion, you can also turn your coffee cake into a show-stopping dessert by layering it with fresh fruit and topping it with a rich chocolate ganache. Alternatively just order a coffee and walnut cake from us!

Whatever your style, take pleasure in each ambrosial forkful of this divine dessert, for life is too transient to hold back on such sweet luxuries. After all, a day without laughter – or cake – is a day wasted!

Coffee cake for special occasions: decorating ideas

Coffee cake is a versatile and delicious dessert that can be dressed up for special occasions. One idea is to make a naked cake with layers of coffee sponge and a coffee cream cheese frosting. Add some crushed walnuts around the edge of the cake and top with fresh flowers for a rustic and elegant look. For a more formal occasion, try covering the cake with a smooth layer of buttercream and decorating with edible gold leaf and sugar flowers (i recommend buying these online to make life simpler). You could also try making a coffee cake trifle by layering slices of coffee cake with whipped cream and your favourite berries. Don't be afraid to get creative and experiment with different decorations and presentation styles to make your coffee cake stand out at your next special event.

Baking with kids: a fun family activity

Baking with kids can be a fun and rewarding activity that the whole family can enjoy together - admittedly it's hard work sometimes, but when isn't parenting. To get started, choose a simple recipe like this coffee cake (but use decaf coffee and 1 spoon!), and let your kids help with measuring and mixing the ingredients - mine loves the mixing. They can also help with decorating the cake once it's cooled. Baking with children is widely believed to help teach important life skills like patience, creativity, and following directions. And you shouldn't worry if the end result isn't perfect - the kids will have been entertained and even bad coffee cake isn't the worst! And if you need an epic children's cake we've got you covered.   

FAQs: Common Questions About Coffee Cake Answered

Q: Can I freeze coffee cake? A: Yes, you can freeze coffee cake. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or foil and place it in an airtight container before freezing. It can be stored in the freezer for up to three months.

Q: How long will coffee cake stay fresh? A: Coffee cake will stay fresh for up to four days if stored in an airtight container at room temperature. If stored in the fridge, it can last for up to a week. Remember to wrap it well before putting it the fridge. 

Q: Can I substitute ingredients in a coffee cake recipe? A: Yes, you can substitute ingredients in a coffee cake recipe, but keep in mind that this may affect the final texture and flavour of the cake. For example, you can substitute butter for oil or use different types of flour. 

Q: Can I make coffee cake without eggs? A: Yes, you can make coffee cake without eggs by using substitutes such as applesauce, mashed bananas, or silken tofu.

Q: How can I make my coffee cake more moist? A: To make your coffee cake more moist, you can add ingredients such as sour cream, yogurt, or buttermilk to the batter. You can also brush the cake with a simple syrup made from sugar and water before adding the frosting. I don't think you will have a problem with the moisture levels in this recipe based on feedback alone! Ultimately it's the oil which helps keep the sponges tasting moist.  

Q: Can I use instant coffee in my coffee cake recipe? A: Yes, you can use instant coffee in your coffee cake recipe. It can be added to the batter, frosting, or as a flavouring in a simple syrup to brush on the cake layers. While fresh coffee is a little more unpredictable, I highly recommend trying a very sweet coffee and grinding it as fine as possible just before adding it to the mixture - the seconds matter. 

I hope these answers help you make the perfect coffee cake every time!

If you make this cake, please share your thoughts in the comments and tag me on your Instagram photos @angesdesucre #angesdesucre - just because I love seeing your cakes! And if you have any questions, just pop them below and I will add them to the FAQ section. 

2 Responses



May 09, 2020

Thank you so much I can’t wait to start baking😀



November 17, 2018

Is the oven temp for conventional or fan oven? Thanks

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